The underdog Badgers racked up 548 yards of total offense with 301 yards and two TDs coming on passes from quarterback John Stocco, who made big play after big play vs. the Tigers. It was the first time Auburn had given up 500 yards since a 2001 loss to Alabama.
It was such a dominating performance that Auburn defensive coordinator David Gibbs didn't even want to talk about what happened and was a no-show for postgame interviews.
It was such a dominating performance that it was the worst whipping Auburn had taken in a bowl game since the 1971 season when the Tigers were overpowered by one of Oklahoma's vintage teams in the Sugar Bowl.
It was such a dominating performance that the game's MVP, Brian Calhoun, rushed for 213 yards, the second highest total in the bowl game's history.
It was such a dominating performance that an MVP effort like the one from receiver Brandon Williams was trumped by Calhoun. Williams caught six passes for 173 yards and one score and ran four times for 35 yards.
It was such a dominating performance that Wisconsin fans got to enjoy the final minutes chanting overrated as the Tigers suffered their first loss since an overtime setback at LSU to end the season at 9-3. It also prevented the senior class from setting a school record with a potential 40th victory.
"The key to this game wasn't speed because we have plenty of speed," Alvarez said. "They key to this game was making plays."
Stocco gave Alvarez and the Wisconsin coaching staff credit for his team's victory in a game they were a 10 to 11 underdog in prior to kickoff.
"The coaches did an outstanding job with us," said Stocco, who noted the team had its mind set on setting out Alvarez as a winner. "We got a lot of a lot of preparation for this game. We practiced a lot. Sometimes it got long, but it really paid off.
Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville had praise for Alvarez and the way his team played. He predicted the Wisconsin coach is on his way to the hall of fame. "He did a great job at Wisconsin," Tuberville said. "His players responded.
"We knew when we got the matchup with them we were going to have to fight through that," said Tuberville, whose team finished 9-3 to 10-3 for the Badgers. "Our players and coaches understood that. They obviously took advantage of that and their players responded for him and that is a sign of a guy who has done a great job for a program." On a warm and sunny day in Orlando with a crowd of 57,221 watching the action, Auburn got off to a slow start and it would get worse before it got better.
Auburn turned the ball over twice in the first quarter, including an intercepted pass on the second play of the game as Cox's long pass to Devin Aromashodu was underthrown and picked off by Levonne Rowan at the Wisconsin 13. If the ball was on target, the Tigers could have had a quick TD lead.
Auburn got the ball back at its own 20 without any damage, but gave it back three plays later. Kenny Irons ran for five yards and then 11 before fumbling on the next play. Nick Hayden got on the ball for the Badgers at the Tiger 36.
However, for the second time the turnover didn't cost the Tigers any points as Taylor Mehlhaff missed a 53-yard field goal attempt.
Wisconsin took the lead on its third possession, moving the football 75 yards on just five plays. Calhoun ran for 27 yards to push the ball to the Tiger 30. Two plays later, on a inside receiver screen, Williams ran 30 yards for a TD to put the Badgers up 7-0 with 7:55 left in the first quarter.
The Badgers scored on their following possession, moving 71 yards on seven plays before settling for a 19-yard Mehlhaff field goal with 21 seconds left in the second quarter.
A 60-yard run by Calhoun, who broke an attempted tackle by backup cornerback Montae Pitts, set up the score as AU held on a first and goal situation at the three.
It didn't get any better in the second quarter as the Badgers drove the length of the field to make the score 17-0 with 7:19 left. Wisconsin covered 86 yards in 12 plays.
John Stocco got the drive started with an 18-yard pass to Owen Daniels and finished with a 13-yard strike to the same receiver on a third and 10 call.
The second quarter ended on another downer for the Tigers, who were trying to cut into the lead just before halftime. After moving from their own eight to the 43, Cox was sacked and tackle Troy Reddick was ejected from the game on a personal foul call. Tuberville said his tackle was retaliating, but said the officials did a good job on the call.
As tempers flared, the Tigers went to the locker room to regroup for the third period having been outgained 311-116 in the first two quarters. The Badgers ran for 137 yards and passed for 174 more while the Tigers had 58 on the ground and 58 passing yards.
Auburn kicked off to the Badgers to start the second half and on the second play of the third quarter the defensive front came up with a big play. Stanley McClover hit Stocco, knocking the ball loose allowing Tommy Jackson to fall on the ball at the Badger 18.
After an incomplete pass to Aromashodu in the end zone, Irons ran for 12 to the six. However, the Tigers couldn't punch it in. Irons got nothing at right end, Cooper Wallace got four on a pass play to the two and on third down Cox couldn't hit Wallace in the end zone so the Tigers settled for a 20-yard field goal by John Vaughn. That cut the gap to 17-3 with 11:54 on the clock.
Wisconsin had a chance to immediately take the lead back to 17 points, but Mehlhaff was wide right on a 41-yard field goal try with 9:30 left in the third quarter.
The Tigers drove into Wisconsin territory their next two possessions. One stalled at the 40 forcing a punt.
The second ended in a fourth down goal to go TD pass from Cox to Courtney Taylor from nine yards out in the back of the end zone with 14:49 to play in the fourth quarter.
Courtney Taylor catches a TD pass from Brandon Cox. Cox struggled with his accuracy, hitting 15-33 passes and missing a variety of open receivers. Kenny Irons led the ground attack for AU with 88 yards on 22 carries.
Earlier on the drive, on fourth and nine from the Wisconsin 19 the Tigers kept the drive alive as Ben Obomanu caught an out pattern from Cox at the six for for a first down.
The Badgers responded by moving 65 yards in just five plays to take the lead to 24-10 with 13:22 to play on a 33-yard run by Calhoun.
AU then drove from its 20 to the Wisconsin 33, but stalled there and Kody Bliss punted the ball dead inside the one thanks to a generous call by the officiating crew.
Faced with third and seven at the four, Stocco got the Badgers out of trouble with 36-yard pass to Williams and Auburn never got the ball back. Wisconsin ran out the clock by taking a knee at the Auburn one, an embarrassing finish to an embarrassing day for the Tigers.
"I thought it was a great play because the guy was on him," Alvarez said of Stocco's pass from the end zone under pressure. "He drilled that in there. I wouldn't say that won the game for us, but that iced the game."
Auburn's Tuberville said, "I give them all the credit. They're a good football team and it showed. When they needed points and to move they football, they were able to do it."